Improving the fonts in Linux Mint Debian Edition with Infinality

It turns out that the fonts in LMDE look a bit different to those in say Ubuntu. This is partly because of Ubuntu's theme, and partly because Debian's font rendering is a little dated. There is a guy over at who has made some patches to the font renderer (freetype and fontconfig) which haven't yet been picked up by Debian. I installed these patches and it made quite a difference to some text in Firefox.

some text from firefox before and after installing infinality

Notice how the text in the upper half has the C and u in "Currently" touching, and each letter is quite skinny. While in the lower half of the image which I took after installing infinalty, the letters are better spaced, and a bit denser.

This is how I did it:

sudo apt-get install devscripts quilt
cd /tmp
cd Debian-Packages-master
cd fontconfig-infinality
cd ../freetype-infinality
cd ..
sudo dpkg -i *.deb


Strip audio from a video in Ubuntu Linux

Lets say you have a video you recorded on your mobile phone, and you want to send it to someone but there is a noisy audio track which is irrelevant to the subject. Stripping out the audio track is fairly simple using the libav-tools package.

sudo apt-get install libav-tools

avconv -i INPUT.3gp -an -c:v copy OUTPUT.3gp

"-i INPUT.3gp" specifies the input file

"-an" specifies that there will be no audio track in the output file (or -vn would have no video track). Note that if "-an" appeared before "-i INPUT.3gp" we would copy no audio track from the input file (but there would still be an audio track in the output file, albeit empty possibly).

"-c:v copy" specifies the codec we use to encode the video track in the output file. Here we specify copy which means we don't transcode it. So rather than rendering the input video track to a buffer, then re-encoding it we are just copying it directly from the input file to the output file which means we don't lose any quality (whereas if we re-encoded it with a lossy codec then we would have a lower quality output file). Note that if we specified "-c:v <CODEC>" before the "-i INPUT.3gp" we would be specifying the codec used to decode the input file, rather than encode the output file.

"OUTPUT.3gp" specifies the output file. Obviously.